My Tour Operator Is a B Corp. What Does That Mean? Should I Care?

Tanya Dohoney has worked on sustainability initiatives for decades. A retired attorney from Texas now living in Paris, she even started the recycling program for her workplace. When it comes to travel, she also values environmentally and socially responsible companies, which led her to choose Intrepid Travel, a certified B Corp company, for a tour in Morocco in 2019.

The sheer number of sustainability certifications for the travel and tourism industry is almost overwhelming and certainly confusing. Certified B Corp enterprises must meet standards set by B Lab, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit founded in 2006 that awards for-profit companies with certifications for social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. It can take years — and thousands of dollars — to achieve this accreditation. Globally, there are only 62 certified B Corps in the travel industry and 76 in accommodation and hospitality.

“When you see the B Corp logo, I know it’s been at least semi-vetted,” Ms. Dohoney, 64, said. “I do worry about greenwashing, but you have to start somewhere.”

Other travelers, increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impact of their planes, trains, food waste and more, feel the same way, and a growing number of travel operators are undergoing the B Corp certification process, joining multimillion dollar brands like Patagonia and Athleta, to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Aurora Expeditions, a small ship tour operator focused on polar travel, became certified in 2024, joining other travel companies like the lodging company Sawday’s, and tour companies Selective Asia and Byway. But Hayley Peacock-Gower, Aurora’s chief marketing officer, said the company has focused on sustainable travel since its inception.

“Much of this work we were already doing, but we have now committed to much more accountability and made a legal agreement to sustainability,” she said, adding that Aurora also amended the company’s constitution and formalized internal policies as part of the B Corp process.

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